Jim [Sire] was the father of the Christian worldview movement. Loosely defined, this movement is made of writers, speakers, and educators who advocated that Christianity be understood and promoted philosophically. C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer were key as well, but Sire consolidated the Christian view in a clear and captivating way.
Psalm 34:8 invites the reader (or listener) to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” In the context David recounts how God had delivered him from something he deeply feared, and he calls upon those who know God to exalt Him. The Psalm is a rich testimony of the faithfulness of God in the lives of those who depend on Him.
While it addresses “saints” (34:9), and is thus not inherently evangelistic, the theme, content, and delivery fits well Peter’s apologetic paradigm from 1 Peter 3:15. It certainly offers an account of the hope that was within the Psalmist. Again, even though David addresses saints in the near context, his invitation to “taste” in verse 8 implies that his intended audience in the immediate context had not yet tasted.
It is fitting, I think, to draw a secondary application of Psalm 34:8, suggesting that such an invitation would be fitting for an apologetic/evangelistic encounter – especially in engaging the common sentiments of Millennials and iGens.
Read Part 1.
“We report, you decide.” It’s a slogan from a popular news outlet that positions itself as different from other agenda-driven media by its “fair and balanced” posture. How successful this network has been is a matter of debate, of course, but the formula is actually a good one for another mode of communication — especially for the emerging and distinct audience of the 21st century. In order to understand how that formula is especially fitting of this generation, we need a bit of context on how this present generation came to think that way it thinks. So let’s look back.
Following World War II and the culminating failure of the modern project, postmodernism rejected the idea of a grand narrative as a guide for humanity and culture. More specifically, postmodernism dismissed the modern metanarrative that discovery and technology would lead humanity to a utopian future. Technology had not succeeded in ushering in a golden age, instead it brought on the wings of the Enola Gay the most effective device for mass destruction the world had ever seen.
Presented to the 2017 Calvary University Pastors’ Conference on Apologetics, Calvary University, Kansas City, April 20, 2017.
Peter provides the only direct apologetic mandate in Scripture,1 reminding his readers in 1 Peter 3:15 to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” The word translated defense is the Greek apologia, and it references a justification of a position or an argument upon which basis a position is to be preferred. Peter was talking to regular believers, challenging them to (1) have the proper perspective of and response to Christ, (2) to be always prepared to give an apologia, (3) in response to those who ask, (4) specifically providing an account for the hope within them, (5) with gentleness and reverence.
On the rare occasions when its god is allowed to be seen or heard from, the secular West offers up an apologetic, impotent and dewey-eyed theology—a cosmic butler who lives to serve. One Christian commentator quipped that the popular conception of Jesus Christ is that of a “European metrosexual with the hair of a shampoo model.”1 A researcher has coined a term to refer to this blasphemous phenomenon; “moral therapeutic deism.”2 ISIS, for all its fiendish perversity, has something to say about their false version of God. They have a theology and they wield it.
The naturalistic, secular West offers a world without hope, without a future, without light and without God. The universe is the result of natural processes. There is no eternal decree of God. Jesus is not “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), and miracles such as the virgin conception, the incarnation and the resurrection are absurd myths. There is nothing but the melancholy, barren abyss of ultimate irrelevance—what Bertrand Russell called “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.”3
Read Part 1.
Secularism is a religion which makes no reference to God or morality. It is a worldview in which God has no place. If He does exist at all, He lives in quiet, unassuming little churches and never causes a row about anything. He is a private deity. He stays tucked safely away behind closed doors like a fragile china doll. He is never spoken of. He is not allowed to inform anything about us, our actions or how we ought to live our lives.
For example, a new judge was recently appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The new judge opposes homosexual “marriages” and believes authority is derived from God, a position which a leftist rag labeled “extreme.” The new judge hastened to reassure reporters, “The oath that I will take will guarantee to you that my personal political beliefs and my political philosophy will have no impact on me whatsoever… [t]hose things simply have no place inside a court of law.”1
Recently, a French political scientist was interviewed on National Public Radio. The terrorist attack in Nice had just taken place. France had been on heightened security alert since November 2015, when 130 people were slaughtered in a series of coordinated attacks involving suicide bombers, assault weapons and hostage taking. Now, just this past month, a Tunisian madman who had lived in France for 11 years deliberately ran a 19-ton cargo truck into a crowd along the Nice waterfront on Bastille Day. 84 people died. The 31-yr old terrorist, a man who by all accounts was a drug addict, alcoholic, and all-around petty villain, was surrounded by police and shot dead in the cab of his truck. The media was engaged in the usual post-mortem analysis. What can be done? What should be done? What isn’t working? What would drive somebody to do such a thing? This was the context for Myriam Benraad’s interview with NPR. What should France be doing differently? Her answer was remarkable: